2022 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans

Going peat-free is a positive action that each of us can take to protect our peatlands, safeguard nature, and protect our planet.  When you are buying plants, before you make a purchase ask if the plants were raised in peat-free compost.  When buying compost, check the packaging to see whether the growing media contains any peat – look to buy growing media and composts that are 100% peat-free. 

2022 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener and a passionate advocate for peat-free gardening.  I want to help you be a successful gardener, so every year I run independent Compost Trials and share the results on my website.

I’ve included organic and vegan, peat-free composts in this Compost Trial.  All of the composts in this Compost Trial are 100% peat-free.

An Update from my Wildlife Pond in Late Summer

Hello, and welcome to my wildlife pond at the end of August.  I find peace and solace in nature and I love spending time by our wildlife pond.  Usually my visits are fleeting, lasting just a few minutes, but these short burst of connection with plants and wildlife revitalise and recharge me, instantly eliminating all the stresses of life. 

2021 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts.  I know from experience, that it’s not always easy to find a good quality peat-free growing media.  I understand that gardeners who have used peat-based composts all their lives might be hesitant to switch to a peat-free compost; while gardeners who have purchased a poor performing peat-free compost could naturally be reluctant to try peat-free growing media again. 

Colourful Spring & Summer Flowering Bulbs

If you’re in need of some early summer cheer, I’ve got a stack of photographs I’ve taken of vibrant and flamboyant flowers that I hope will brighten up your day!

Last autumn, Dutch Grown sent me some of their bulbs to trial.  I’m sharing my photographs I’ve taken of these flowers along with some info about each of the plants to help you, if you’re considering planting bulbs this autumn.

Tall Orchidarium Update

Welcome to my first update on the Phalaenopsis and other orchids I’m growing inside my Tall Orchidarium.

I first set up my Tall Orchidarium in November 2019 (18 months ago).  If you would like to start at the beginning and see how my Tall Orchidarium was designed and set up, please click here.

I am absolutely thrilled with my Tall Orchidarium. 

2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts – I want to encourage everyone to go peat-free!  However, I do understand that gardeners who use peat-based composts might be reluctant to switch to a peat-free compost, if they aren’t familiar with this type of growing media.  Trying a new compost can feel like a venture into the unknown; none of us want to start the gardening season off on the wrong foot, to be unnecessarily delayed, or to have our gardening compromised by using products that are not as good quality or effective as we might wish for. 

An Update on the Aerangis & Angraecum Orchids inside my Tall Orchidarium

I set up my Tall Orchidarium in November 2019.  I am absolutely thrilled with this custom built terrarium, which Matthew (from Custom Aquaria) built for me in autumn 2019.  I’m growing a large number of orchids inside my Tall Orchidarium, so I’ve divided up this update (which covers the period from November 2019 to March 2021) into three posts of slightly more manageable sizes. 

Wildlife Around my Pond

I am so grateful for my little pond; this small area of water attracts many insects to our garden.  As well as planting up my pond with aquatic plants that live in water, I’ve planted the narrow border around my pond with garden plants that will attract bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies, and other insects.  If you’re interested in growing plants for bees and butterflies, you won’t need a pond or a boggy area of ground to grow these garden plants – they grow in regular garden soil – my plants are growing in free draining, sandy soil; so I’ve chosen mostly drought tolerant plants.

2020 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts.  I know from my own experience, that it’s not always easy to find a good quality peat-free growing media.  I understand that gardeners who have used peat-based composts all their lives might be hesitant to switch to a peat-free compost and gardeners who have purchased a poor performing peat-free compost could naturally be reluctant to try peat-free growing media again. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update (part two)

Since my last Rainforest Terrarium update, I’ve been busy conducting a huge rearrangement of many of my terrariums and terrarium plants.  As part of these changes, some of the orchids that used to reside inside my Rainforest Terrarium have now been moved to other enclosures, including my new Tall Orchidarium.

I am full of ideas of terrariums I’d like to create. 

Peat free Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

Dalefoot Composts have produced the top performing peat free composts in all of the Compost Trials that I’ve run over the past seven years.  Rather than just continually highlighting every year that Dalefoot Composts are the best peat free composts to use, I designed this Compost Trial to demonstrate methods you could use to get the best results from one of their products, namely Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost.

If you’re looking for ways to make a positive difference to the environment, why not build a pond?  Ponds support a vast range of wildlife, from the bottom to the top of the food chain.  Insects, invertebrates, amphibians, and birds, all need ponds.  These ecologically important habitats give us the chance to see dazzling dragonflies and get closer to nature.  Ponds grant us exciting opportunities to grow waterlilies and aquatic plants! 

Orchids flowering inside my Orchidarium today!

I designed this Orchidarium in 2017; it was constructed in the early spring of 2017.  If you’re interested in the materials I’ve used, you can see the step-by-step process of my Orchidarium build here.  I thought I’d share some of these pretty orchid blooms with you.  These orchids are all in bloom inside my Orchidarium, today.

The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium

Welcome to the thirteenth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  I first planted this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium in March 2017.  So, at the time of writing, in August 2019, this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium is now two and a half years old.  In this update, it’s a pleasure to show you a few of the twinkling, crystalline flowers of Aerangis hyaloides, alongside the beauty of the snow-white, pendent blooms of Aerangis citrata, as they fade. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update

In March 2018, I commissioned Rich, from Rainforestvivs (now The Rich Rainforest), to build this fabulous, custom built Rainforest Terrarium for me.  I designed my Rainforest Terrarium to fulfil my requirements: I needed to provide an enclosure that would house as large a number of orchids as possible from my National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum Species and my National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis Species, within the limited space I had available. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update

In this my first update, you can discover how the Aerangis, Amesiella, and Angraecum orchids that are housed inside my Rainforest Terrarium have grown and developed over the past eleven months – from April 2018 to March 2019.  Discover which plants have died and which orchids have thrived during this time frame, in my first plant update for this custom built terrarium. 

Tomato Trial

I love growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs.  We’ve all got our favourite heritage tomatoes, but have you tried any new tomato varieties?  Last year, I grew lots of new tomato varieties, as part of my quest to discover the most delicious and productive tomato cultivars available to gardeners!

The objectives of this Tomato Trial were to identify delicious, productive, disease resistant tomato varieties, and to discover whether any of the trialled tomato cultivars perform differently when planted in the ground or grown in a container. 

Welcome to the twelfth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  In this update, I am excited to share the delight of the snowy white, newly opened flowers of Aerangis citrata with you!  Since my last update, I’ve introduced a few new orchids to this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium and I’ve recently replaced the moss, to add a verdant green carpet to enhance the plants inside this special terrarium.

Vegepod Raised Garden Beds

I love growing vegetables, it’s a truly wonderful, soul enriching experience to grow your own food!  Sadly an increasing number of us are without the luxury of a garden or allotment and have nowhere to grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, or flowers; while a great many others struggle to garden in small, often paved spaces, without any access to the soil.